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Kids on Celebrity


dszrew

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Just got back from a week in Alaska with our two boys (12 and 13). Since questions about kids activities on Celebrity often go unanswered, thought I’d do a review of our experience.

 

Before going I had two concerns about our kids on board:

1. I didn’t want them doing things they shouldn’t be doing (drinking, drugs, swearing, etc). We didn’t know who they’d meet or what they might invent to do.

2. We didn’t want them to be obnoxious and annoy/disturb passengers who perhaps didn’t want to be bothered by kids.

 

We drew up a list of rules before we left and clearly set our expectations about how they should act, where they should be, staying together, etc. Their room was across the hall from ours and had no other cabins on either side, so we hoped they wouldn’t disturb anyone while in their cabin.

 

Before we boarded, someone from the kids staff talked to us about what they would be doing that night. Depending on who you ask of the 4 of us, there were either 108 or 180 kids on board (we heard different things). The largest group they said were the teens. Our two boys were together in the 12-14 year old group. In spite of the numbers we were told when boarding, their group ended up with only 5 regular kids who showed up for activities. One 15 year old was the only older kid to go, so they combined the 12-14 and the 15-17 groups. Essentially they hung out with the group of 6 all week. (The youngest group I think had about 10-12 regular kids.)

 

That first night they went off to the kids club activities. From that moment on, they were content to spend nearly all their free time there. Before leaving we were concerned about what they might be doing away from our supervision, but we just suddenly found ourselves unworried as long as they were with the kids club activities. They were in an age group where they were not checked in or out, they just came and went and they pleased. We believe that they truly were with the club activities (and not off on their own when they said they were going to be there).

 

Each night they'd get a card delivered to their room of the next day's activities. They were often for the wrong age group (one younger and one older), but they'd just grab a schedule that evening so we'd know what was coming up the next day.

 

Some of the activities they did:

 

• Card and board games

• Ping-pong, basketball, dodgeball

• Scrapbooking (with free scrapbook pages and supplies)

• Scavenger hunts around the ship

• The Amazing Race (really just a different kind of scavenger hunt)

• Decorate t-shirts (X Club t-shirts provided)

• Coketails/mocktails (free mixed soft drinks)

• Free arcade night

• Kids talent show

• Xbox challenge

• Family bingo (with prizes)

 

During the week, they earned Celebrity dollars for winning various games. Towards the end they had an auction where they could “buy” things. One of our sons ended up with a small pillow (his second one because he’d won one at Bingo), the other got a nice shoulder bag for books and his scrapbooking.

 

We didn’t pay much attention to when activities started. I think on sea days that would be 10 or 11 am, but on most port days we didn’t really care what was going on because we were off the ship anyway. I think in most cases the activities started 3 or 4 pm, typically did not run through early dinner time, then started again 7 or 8 pm and went late (sometimes until 1am). In fact, the lateness was our biggest problem. We have an early bedtime (9 or 9:30 even in summer), but they’d often want to attend an activity that didn’t even start until 10 or 11 pm. We’d find ourselves saying “but we’d have to stay up just to make sure you made it back in time.” We enforced a time to be back to their room, often later than what we wanted to stay up, but it did allow them to at least attend for a time some of the later activities.

 

We always ate together in the main dining room with early seating, a table for just the 4 of us (didn’t want to burden anyone else with eating with our kids). I was worried they might get impatient with the time it took, but they are used to ordering from restaurants and it gave us a time to see what they were up to. We'd review that evening's activities to know what they were doing and when they'd have to be back.

 

One night they left dinner early to do scrapbooking, the last night we let them skip dinner because they wanted to attend an activity that started at 6, but mostly we ate breakfast and dinner together. They convinced the kids club staff that they needed afternoon snacks, so they’d often get something to eat from the buffet during the day.

 

We’d pass them at times in the hall and in the buffet and I believe they were well-behaved, even when wandering the ships as part of the activities. One day we went to use the elevators and came up behind a group of 3 teenagers, none who were going to the kids club. They were talking loudly about having left their ice cream in the elevator, and as the elevator closed on them, one of them was on the floor twitching around. We both looked at each other and said we hoped our boys weren’t doing that.

 

The kids had their own evaluation form for the kids club. One boy said that for the question of “Did you like your staff member” he marked “No way” (or whatever that was). I would have wished they had let us review them with the boys before they filled them out. He truly answered that he didn’t “like” the counselor, but we would have explained that “liking” the person didn’t make them bad at their job and didn’t warrant a poor score. I didn’t “like” our waiter, but he was very competent at what he did.

 

I’d say the kids club for our boys was perfect. They were there for everything, even if they didn’t think they’d like the activity. I think they liked the freedom they got to come and go and do things away from us, and as I said, we were surprised that we felt comfortable with them just going (we didn't worry about them). If we hadn’t have had the kids club, they would have been stuck with us the whole time, and likely would have argued and annoyed each other much more than they did.

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We just returned from the June 10th Infinity sailing to Alaska, and my teenage twin daughters (age 13) had a total BLAST! As dszrew mentioned, there are planned activities throughout the day and evening for the kids. Most activities started around 9-10 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and then resumed around 7:00 or 8:00 pm until midnight. My daughters loved the freedom of going to the activities when we were on the ship. They even had activities available for kids when we were docked in port, but we were always off the ship when we were in port. Our cruise on Infinity was far superior to our cruise on Carnival a few years ago.

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Thanks for the detailed review. We are sailing on Celebrity for the first time and as our son is now 9 it will be his first experience of scavanger hunts etc so he is certainly looking forward to that. Our daughter is 6 so they will be in different clubs.

 

We too are early dining which fits in perfectly with the kids club. Where did your boys eat if they didn't eat with you? We plan to eat together but have reservations for Qsine one night so at least one night they will need to eat somewhere else.

 

Did your sons ever do the younger age group activities on Celebrity?

What were the arrangements on embarkation day?

Did the club open as normal the first evening?

On sea days did they run any lunch / dinner parties or was this by personal arrangement only?

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In our experience, when we ate in a speciality restaurant, we just took our boys to the ocean view cafe first to have a quick dinner then to kids club - I believe they can eat at kids club but there is a charge for the time they are in there for meals if I remember correctly.

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In our experience, when we ate in a speciality restaurant, we just took our boys to the ocean view cafe first to have a quick dinner then to kids club - I believe they can eat at kids club but there is a charge for the time they are in there for meals if I remember correctly.

 

We also plan to use the ocean view cafe (or room service on the balcony which could be a treat!). Is the food in the buffet a good variety or are you restricted to certain themes on certain nights? Can you get juice at the buffet all day or just at breakfast?

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The variety of food is astounding - they have a "station" for just about everything - stir fries, grill, salad bar, pizza and pasta, english food, sushi etc etc - it has to be seen to be believed!

 

Room service is a fantastic option I had not even thought of, while we are getting ready for our special dinner, our boys can eat in the relaxed comfort of the cabin! Thanks for the tip! :)

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We also plan to use the ocean view cafe (or room service on the balcony which could be a treat!). Is the food in the buffet a good variety or are you restricted to certain themes on certain nights? Can you get juice at the buffet all day or just at breakfast?

 

I also thought the variety of food in the buffet was amazing, huge choice, beautifully presented and very tasty. Hard to go wrong, and the layout is so open and easy for access. Also one of the first ships where we never ever had a problem finding somewhere to sit.

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We ate in the specialty restaurant one night and that was their "room service" night. We were going to have them order from the main dining room menu, but they told us they wouldn't deliver it until 7pm, so they just ordered the regular steak from room service instead. (they did get shrimp cocktail from the dining room as an appetizer)

 

The other night that they wanted to skip dinner because there was a 6pm activity at the kids club. I honestly can't remember what they did to eat, but I'm sure they didn't go hungry.

 

I thought the Ocean Cafe had a much better dinner variety than they did 6 years ago. My wife and I never ate there, but went every evening for ice cream and there seemed to be enough variety to choose from.

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Did your sons ever do the younger age group activities on Celebrity?

What were the arrangements on embarkation day?

Did the club open as normal the first evening?

On sea days did they run any lunch / dinner parties or was this by personal arrangement only?

 

I don't think our boys ever did the younger group activities. I think at times they were there when there was nothing scheduled, in which case they probably played Xbox or something.

 

When we boarded, the ship was doing extra "sanitizing" because of Noro the previous week. Based on the schedule, they were supposed to have a 5pm orientation where you meet the staff. Instead, they didn't meet until 8pm, but as I recall they were there probably from 8-11pm that first night doing activities (with the activities probably going even later than that).

 

The older groups didn't have any lunch/dinner parties at all. I know the younger group had a lunch scheduled, but I don't know if it cost anything. Our boys convinced the counselor that they needed snack time, so they'd just all go down and get something to eat together about mid-afternoon.

 

Also, there was only one above 14 year old who came, so they put him with the 12-14 year old group. I think the staff was flexible in that they probably changed the activities and the schedule based on who was attending. By the third day the older group activities were exactly the same as our kid's group (since they had combined them anyway). So the exact activities and what they may or may not do might vary depending on who's onboard and who attends.

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In our experience, when we ate in a speciality restaurant, we just took our boys to the ocean view cafe first to have a quick dinner then to kids club - I believe they can eat at kids club but there is a charge for the time they are in there for meals if I remember correctly.

 

My guess is that the charge is for the younger kids. Younger kids have to be checked in and out and always have supervision. The older kids can come and go as they please, so it's possible if they do a meal as an "organized" activity, they'd just go down to the buffet and eat together.

 

Late several nights they did coketails/mocktails for the group. We made sure they asked on the very first night whether there was a cost (which at least for this group there wasn't). Now if there had been 30 kids in the group, that might have been a different story...

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I have scanned and attached the info from our Equinox cruise that shows the program hours. Look at pages 2 and 3 for this info, including the Lunch Party, Dinner Party and Slumber Party.

 

On sea days, there is a Dinner Party from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, for which they charge $6/hour. On port days there is also a Lunch Party from 12 noon to 2:00 pm, also charged at $6/hour.

 

On our cruise, the Fun Factory was open starting at 7:00 pm on Embarkation Day.

Equinox Fun Factory Info.pdf

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My guess is that the charge is for the younger kids. Younger kids have to be checked in and out and always have supervision. The older kids can come and go as they please, so it's possible if they do a meal as an "organized" activity, they'd just go down to the buffet and eat together.

 

I think that what determines whether or not you are charged is whether your kid is signed in between the hours of 5 pm to 7 pm. Ensigns (ages 9-11) can sign themselves out and go eat on their own (assuming you have authorized self signout privilges). But if they are signed in during the Dinner Party time slot, then you will be charged.

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I think that what determines whether or not you are charged is whether your kid is signed in between the hours of 5 pm to 7 pm. Ensigns (ages 9-11) can sign themselves out and go eat on their own (assuming you have authorized self signout privilges). But if they are signed in during the Dinner Party time slot, then you will be charged.

 

Our boys are 12 & 13, so we never had to worry about sign in or sign out. If they happened to have been around during those lunch/dinner hours, it was never anything that was charged (I'm assuming they ingore sign in/out for the older groups). I can't recall that they ever had any formal lunch or dinner activity for that age group, so I'm guessing that Celebrity sees the organized lunch/dinner for the younger kids as more of a babysitting service than an activity. For our older kids, as far as I know, they never had an organized meal party (although maybe sometimes they do on some ships/sailings).

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Just returned from the June 10th Alaska sailing on Infinity. This is our second time to Alaska and although we did not bring our own kids, we noticed a lot more kids on this sailing than on our previous trip to Alaska. I must say they all seemed extremely well behaved and happy to be hanging out with the Celebrity crew and other children. To my knowledge there were no issues and they all looked like they were really having a good time. I know some people wonder if kids would enjoy an Alaskan cruise and I say without a doubt they would! We did not bring ours only because it was a 10 year anniversary trip but we will definitely bring them next time. Kudos to Celebrity for having such a great kids program and to the parents of all the kids who were on board - I think they were all great!

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We just got off the Summit a week ago and I grabbed the daily schedules for all of the kids' age groups (although I seem to be missing one). You can see them all at:

http://www.sjajg.com/travel/cruise2011/Summit_Schedules.html

 

Our grandkids are too young for a cruise, so I can't answer any questions but thought you might like to see the daily options.

 

j

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